Preparations for the disposal-through burning, of elephant ivory, rhino horn and other seized illegal wildlife products entered home stretch on April 20, 2016 at an event led by KWS Director General Mr. Kitili Mbathi and witnessed by media and representatives of nongovernmental Organisations.
Mr. Mbathi oversaw verification and breaking of the seal of one of the containers stacked with ivory at the site of the grand burn set for April 30, 2016, inside Nairobi National Park. A total of 105 tonnes of ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn will be set ablaze.
The Director General oversaw opening of the container, with officials from Stop Ivory, an NGO which is collaborating with KWS in preparation for the burn. The NGO also assisted KWS in inventorying wildlife trophies under her custody.
From here, volunteers, under the supervision of KWS staff moved the ivory to one of the pier chambers to be used to burn the contraband wildlife products. In extensive interviews with representatives of local and international media, Mr. Kitili said Kenya had declared total war on ivory trade.
He said KWS was burning the biggest haul of elephant ivory and rhino horn under her custody, save for some quantity that is subject to court cases and another that will be stored for historical and education purposes. He reiterated that as far as Kenya is concerned ivory has no monetary value and its value can only be when it is on living elephants.
Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Mr. Najib Balala also witnessed the occasion and sent a passionate call to all and sundry to protect wildlife as a national heritage for both current and future generations. He said the April, 20, 2016 event to burn the stockpile will be a defining moment to send the apt message, that wildlife trophies have no monetary value.
Mr. Balala said Safari tourism, which accounts for the lion share of tourists visiting Kenya is a product of wildlife, thus the need to jealously guard this precious heritage. He urged people holding wildlife trophies to take advantage of the amnesty by the government and surrender them to KWS.